Intermarriage & Jewish Survival
THE AMERICAN JEWISH community is a kind of fabulous invalid whose death had long ago been predicted by the doctors in attendance but whose ongoing salubrity confounds their predictions. Contradictions, as is the case with any living organism, abound. American Jewry may be inordinately “problem”-ridden and “crisis”-beset, but its institutions, with all their attendant activities, continue to thrive. New synagogues and community centers are constantly being built, and support for Israel, financial and otherwise, remains undiminished. Enrollment in Jewish day schools shows a steady growth, and while some would dismiss this as merely a response to the deterioration of the public schools, a more positive consideration is certainly at work as well. Even the grave problem of the loss of Jewish identity among college youth is not entirely a one-sided proposition. There is a new enthusiasm for Jewish studies on the campus and it is now harder to find suitable instructors than it is to attract interested students. As for extracurricular activities, the Hillel Foundation-no longer the sole Jewish address on campus-must now compete with such organizations as Yavneh (Orthodox) and Atid (Conservative). The latest campus phenomenon, of course, are the groups dedicated to challenging the Jewish Establishment, of which the best known, thanks to its recent demonstration in Boston at a convention of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, is the Jewish Activist League.
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